Nicky Jam on Crying Over His No. 1 Comeback 'El Perdon': I'm a Real Man. I Can Suffer'

Jeffery Salter
Nicky Jam & Juan Diego Medina photographed on Oct. 29 at Sony Music Entertainment in Coconut Grove, Fl. 

30 Weeks On Hot Latin Songs

Juan Diego Medina was in his management office when client Nicky Jam (real name: Nick Rivera Caminero, 35) called from the studio, humming a new melody. Recalls Medina, 27, “Nicky said, ‘I’ll send you a hit in two hours.’ The next day, we put the chorus up on his Instagram, and that’s all it took.”

Fans went wild for “El Perdon,” the story of a man lamenting the loss of his lover to another. At the time, “Travesuras,” Jam’s comeback hit after a 10-year absence from the charts, was No. 4 on Hot Latin Songs. The uniqueness of the sound had caught Enrique Iglesias’ ear, and Jam sent him “El Perdon.” As a duet, the track, released on Sony Music U.S. Latin, debuted on Hot Latin Songs on Feb. 21 at No. 50 and on March 21 hit No. 1, where it remained for 30 straight weeks. An English-language version -- “Forgiveness” -- helped the song peak at No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September.


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JAM To do a song with Enrique changes the game. When we hit No. 1, I called my father and he told me that for him I was always No. 1. I recorded a video for my fans and started crying. Ten years off the music game and to come back with a No. 1 song? I could have erased the video and done a new one, but I like to show my emotions. I’m a real man. I can suffer.

MEDINA Enrique gave the song a cleaner, more pop sound. When Nir [Seroussi, president of Sony Music U.S. Latin] called and said we were No. 1, I cried with happiness. Reaching No. 1 seemed so far out of reach. I’m no one, really. I didn’t study to be a manager, I just learned along the way. God gave me the opportunity and opened the doors.

Billboard Year in Music 2015

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 19 issue of Billboard.